Some wrestlers view classroom responsibilities as little more than a nuisance that cuts into their training time. They have to go through the motions to maintain eligibility or win a scholarship to help pay for tuition and new wrestling gear, but they’re not too invested beyond that—which is a big mistake.

That’s because a quick perusal of the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s list of D1 All-Academic teams shows a strong correlation between academic success and athletic achievement. Ten teams on the NWCA list placed in the top 30 in this year’s NCAA wrestling championship, while 72 out of 82 individuals on the list qualified for the tournament. Of those qualifiers, four won championships, four were runners-up, and 21 earned All-American status.

This success rate shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, though. After all, many of the classroom skills and characteristics exhibited by good students transfer directly to the mat, including the following:

  • The ability to focus on a task despite distractions
  • Persistence in the face of adversity
  • The ability to set and achieve goals
  • Consistency of effort for a sustained period of time

As a student-athlete, it can be difficult to balance the demands of your sport with the commitment required to thrive in the classroom. We know the last thing you want to do after a brutal three-hour practice is hit the books to study for a test or write an essay. But classroom success can be just as important to winning as having the right wrestling equipment and following a great training program, so resist the urge to slack off.